Friends In Highly Low Places

Oliver can't keep a girl to save his broomstick - Quidditch is just too important to him. But in his final game as a Hogwarts player, he saves her, risking his chances at winning.

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1. Friends In Highly Low Places

 

Shane Murphy untangled herself from her sheets, reluctantly facing the day. She had no desire to go through the motions today; Potions with Professor Snape would be hell, and Wood was bound to overwork them at Quidditch practice again, now that Harry was on the team.

Harry was a sweet kid or whatever, but the little bugger was such a good Seeker that Oliver had upped their practice to more than twice what it had been before. Shane dressed, groaning when she glanced at her Quidditch robes.

"You have hours before you've got to worry about Wood," she reminded herself with a sigh. Oliver Wood was a handful on or off the field. On, he demanded every ounce of your concentration. He needed 100% of everything you had, then at least another hundred of what you didn't. Off, he couldn't think of anything but Quidditch. He hadn't had a girlfriend that didn't play, and the few he'd had dumped him soon thereafter because of his obsession. Shane wasn't even sure he managed his grades well anymore because of Quidditch.

She trudged down to the Gryffindor common room then through the portrait hole and down a few floors to the Great Hall. She raked her eyes across the Great Hall, searching for Oliver. She knew that his obsession got in the way of a lot, and that's why she couldn't bear the thought of him losing friends over it. Which, honestly, happened fairly frequently. Even if he lost everyone else, he wouldn't lose her. Perhaps she was too nice; she had people telling her that all the time in regard to Oliver.

"Wood," she greeted, placing herself in the chair next to him at the Gryffindor table.

"Murphy!" he greeted with an unusually wide smile.

Shane averted her large, jade green eyes. She had to admit, she was a bit of a sucker for his accent. Shane had spent several years of her childhood in America, and now greatly appreciated accents unlike her own.

"What's got you so cheerful this morning?" she wondered as she loaded her plate of bacon and eggs.

Oliver shrugged. "Just that we're only a game away from winning. We're finally going to beat Slytherin."

Oh yeah. Shane had forgotten that the final game of the Quidditch season would be the following morning. Shane was only looking forward to it for the pleasure of seeing Marcus Flint's face when they beat the Slytherin team.

"Scum," she muttered under her breath, remembering the fat gap between his front teeth and the ugly smirk he seemed to be wearing every time she saw him.

"Me?" Oliver asked, confused and looking more than a bit hurt.

His voice sent Shane back into reality. "Oh! No, not you," she assured him in an apologetic voice. Then her words took a harsher turn, "I was thinking of Flint."

Relief washed over Oliver's face and his smile sliding right back into place. "Well, in that case..." he laughed.

Shane sighed and turned to him, smiling. "You know how much I wanna kick his arse. You better not let them score tomorrow."

"You know me better than that," Oliver grinned, nudging Shane's shoulder with his own.

Shane bit a piece of her bacon off, chewing thoughtfully. She had taken her eyes off of Oliver, but now she could feel his eyes still on her. She glanced his way before turning back to him. "Yes?" she asked when she'd finished chewing.

"Not that you'd really need a reason, but why exactly do you hate Flint so much?" he asked.

Shane scrunched up her nose like she did when Flint's odor was stinking up the area. "Because. My father cheated on my mum with his filthy mother. In an indirect way, he ruined my family. The best part? I got to hear about my parents' divorce from him before their owl ever came in. That was two years ago. To this day, he still likes to rub it in my face that it was all thanks to his mum. Gets a real riot out of it, he does."

Oliver whistled low. "I see why you hate him."

Shane nodded, slightly annoyed now. Not because Oliver had brought the subject up; that had been innocent. But because she wanted to knock Flint off his broom tomorrow, and tomorrow sounded too far away.

 

Shane loved that she lived in the magical world, finding it more fun and interesting than the Muggle world. But today, her classes bored her. Even with Oliver sitting next to her in Transfiguration and Ancient Runes, Shane found herself either planning Flint's "unfortunate, untimely demise" on the Quidditch field, or devoid of any thought at all. She truly adored her time at Hogwarts, but it was her final year, and she could imagine that there was only so much left that she needed to learn.

The end of the day was like a blessing to Shane, who had slept through the entirety of that afternoons' double Divination. "What was the homework, again?" she asked Oliver groggily as they walked down the steep staircase.

"There was homework?" he asked with wide eyes.

Shane sighed. "Were you planning the strategy for tomorrow's game?" she asked.

He paused, then nodded. "Strategy. Yeah, something like that."

She puffed, blowing a fly-away hair out of her face. "Oh well. I'm doing well enough in that class, I probably need a bad mark just to keep things balanced."

"About tomorrow," Oliver began. He paused. Just when he went to open his mouth to speak again, the flood of students pulled them apart from each other. It was more than the usual bustle of students, but Shane could easily recognize that this was simply because it was a Friday and the Quidditch Cup would be handed out the following day at the end of the game.

Slytherin and Gryffindor were fairly close in points, but Wood had been coaching Potter on tactics to make sure he could maintain visibility of the Snitch without actually catching it until the team was ahead several points to ensure they would win the Cup, as well. This had been going on ever since the previous game ended.

Shane didn't bother wondering what Oliver had been about to ask her, because she was aware that if she got distracted for even a second, the masses would have her flying down the stairs to unkindly introduce her face to the stone floor.

Shane woke up the following morning, excited for her final Quidditch game at Hogwarts. She knew the moment she touched down on land again would be bittersweet, but she also knew that with Harry, Oliver, Fred and George, this team could decimate Slytherin. Maybe the Quidditch Cup would make it more bearable that she would never play another serious game of Quidditch. At least not at Hogwarts. It was her home away from home, and the thought of any "lasts" taking place there made her throat close painfully tight as she held back a few tears. Shane had never been good with endings of any sort; routine was her thing.

Shane headed down for the Quidditch pitch and into the locker room where she donned her Quidditch robes for the final time. The team was rowdy as usual, except for herself and Oliver. This would be their final game at Hogwarts; their last hurrah. They were quiet in the presence of their final moments as players on this team that had meant so much to them. Undoubtedly it had meant the most to Oliver, but there was no love lost on Shane's part.

Shane, along with the rest of the team, grabbed her broom and walked out onto the pitch one last time. She mounted her broom, knowing she would never again ride it for the simplistic joy of the game. Not in the same way. The full force of that hit her now, and she wondered why she'd taken her place on the team for granted all these years.

All players took to the sky when the whistle blew, soaring into the blue above. Within minutes of the game, Shane spotted Harry hovering not a foot behind the Snitch, Flint tailing him.

Oliver made sure they made quick work of the goals they needed to get ahead. Shortly before the final goal was scored, Zabini sent a frighteningly speedy bludger right into Shane's side. Normally, she wasn't so careless, but she seemed less aware than she should've been, in a sad, emotional state. She hadn't been paying attention because she'd finally let it sink in that she would never get to play another Quidditch match with over-zealous Oliver. Then the bludger struck her, knocking the wind from her and plucking her from her broom.

Shane was falling. Falling quickly, with her long, blonde hair floating out behind her. She let out a piercing scream and watched twelve players still up in the air playing their parts. But one rogue was shirking his duties and diving toward her, making her life their responsibility. She vaguely thought a dive like that must've been executed by a Seeker. But Harry wasn't the one who'd feinted, and Flint neither could nor would do such a thing for her.

Just before Shane slammed into the ground, a rough, calloused hand tightly gripped her tiny wrist. She stared up into the chocolatey brown eyes of Oliver Wood. Oliver Wood, whose dream it was to win the Quidditch Cup before he left Hogwarts. He could very well have risked his chance by leaving his post and trying to prevent her fall. Shane wondered how he could possibly be so humble when he was clearly such an amazing player. He was sure to get onto a pro team when he left Hogwarts.

Oliver tugged her up onto the back of his broom until Shane's came around to take her back. He grasped her arm until she was safely back on her own broomstick.

"Take my post!" Oliver yelled at her over Lee's commentating and the roar of the crowd. Gryffindor could steal the Snitch from the air now, and win the Cup. Shane didn't know who to watch as she saw Harry feint after the gold, winged ball and Oliver dart through players and weave around them in order to fly straight at Zabini. He skidded to a halt in mid-air and threw a swing at Blaise. Flint flew over and attempted to shield his teammate, but Oliver swung at both parties.

Shane feared that Oliver was risking their points; she couldn't let him do that. He'd hate himself if he did that. Before she had pulled her broom up, the crowd's cheering intensified and the whistle blew. In the midst of their tussle, Zabini, Flint, Oliver and the rest of the players all safely touched ground again.

And that was it. Shane's final game as a Chaser was over. She nearly broke into a sob, until she saw that Flint and Zabini had Oliver's arms, and each of the Slytherin teammates were taking turns dealing blows to Oliver.
Shane jerked her wand from her boot and yelled, "Stupefy!" The spell hit Flint -to Shane's immense pleasure- and gave her the opening she needed to get to Oliver.

She had to fight the force of the crowd that was now pooling onto the field to congratulate the Gryffindor team as their Head of House, Professor McGonagall handed Harry the Cup. She fought her way to the Slytherin team who now had Oliver on the ground, kicking him wherever they could reach and disregarding their captain's condition.
Wand still in hand, she broke through to see Oliver on his back, taking every kick. Through the legs around him, Oliver's eyes met Shane's with a look of desperation.

Shane kicked Zabini in the back of the knee, causing it to buckle beneath him and sending him to the soft grass below. She shoved his back hard so he was face down, and stepped on the small of his back, her wand pointing threateningly at the group. "Let him up!" she yelled fiercely.

"And what if we don't?" sneered a player Shane wasn't familiar with.

"Then you'll wish you'd crossed Voldemort instead of me."

They laughed, clearly unaware of just how serious she was. "Petrificus Totalus!" she shouted, wand pointed at the boy who'd just spoken. He froze up, a surprised look on his face. He swayed slightly before hitting the ground. That got the attention of the rest of the team enough that they stopped kicking. She quickly reached down and took Oliver's hand, yanking him to his feet and pushing him behind her. She took a step forward to Flint who was on his back and only now coming to his senses. She pressed her foot into his ribs and glared down at him. "One more thing. Do one more thing to mess with me and I will not hesitate for a moment to kill you," she whispered menacingly. Shane knew she wouldn't actually kill him, but she hoped after this that the threat would be enough to get him off her back.

She turned to Oliver and pushed him toward the other end of the field where the locker room was. He was trying to stop her, talk to her, but she was furious. Livid. Too far beyond to listen. The field had cleared for the most part, and teachers were starting to take notice of the Slytherin team, all of whom were complaining, yelling and shouting about how Shane had threatened them. Damn right she had. And she didn't regret it for a minute.

"Shane!" Oliver shouted, finally breaking through her wall of thoughts. He had shoved her against the wall of the hallway that led back to the locker room. Shocked at his force, she looked up at him, surprised.

"That was amazing. You just held off an entire team of angry Quidditch players. Guys from Slytherin, at that. Thank you."

"You basically just saved my life. Or at least a few of my bones. It was the least I could do," she squeaked.
Shane watched as Oliver's eyes flickered between hers, contemplating something.

"Why did you go after them?" Shane asked him. "What if you just lost us points?"

"Then it was worth it," Oliver said definitively.
"It was?" she asked, surprised. "But it's been your dream ever since we first arrived at Hogwarts to win the Quidditch Cup. Which, you did by the way. But what if they take it back because of your behavior?"

Oliver scoffed. "Surely they wouldn't after seeing what the Slytherin team did to me," he said, taking a step back from her and spreading his arms. She finally took in his appearance, seeing what they'd done to him. There were several rips and tears in his robes, blood and dirt all over his arms and face. His broom dangled awkwardly in his hand, snapped almost in two.

"Oh, Oliver! I'm sorry! You shouldn't have done that!" she cried, flinging her arms around his neck.

He dropped his broom and coiled his arms around Shane's waist. "They could've seriously hurt you. And you know you wish you'd had a shot at Flint."

She laughed a little, pulling away just enough to look him in the eyes. "If it couldn't be me, I'm glad it was you."

 

"I'm glad it's you, too," he whispered.

Shane opened her mouth to ask what he meant, but then Oliver leaned down and pulled her lips into an amazing, fireworks-behind-her-eyelids kiss.

When they pulled away, Shane was breathing heavily. They stared at each other for a moment before Oliver broke into a broad grin. The corners of Shane's mouth twitched up into a smile. She laughed. "You picked me over Quidditch?"

He nodded. "You're the only girl that's ever seemed important enough to. And I hoped if I could choose you over the game, then maybe I wouldn't lose you, too."

"You were never going to lose me, Oliver," she reassured him before pulling him into another kiss. He may have been low on the totem pole, socially, but Oliver and his kisses made Shane fly higher than she ever could on any broom. Whatever trouble they might get in, it would be worth it now that they had each other.

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